Prophetstown man honors late wife by serving thousands of free meals

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Every Monday since January 2013, a man in Prophetstown, Illinois has been providing free meals to the community, with the help of volunteers, to honor his wife who passed away.

"She was a school teacher. She was a librarian and her whole life all she did is help people, so it just kind of fits right in her life and now she's still helping people," said Larry Stewart of his wife Pat, who died from breast cancer in October 2012, "Three weeks before she passed away, she was talking with Pastor Cheri that she just wanted the Lord to take her life and do something with it that he needed."

So, Stewart created "Pat's Table." Every Monday from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Prophetstown, volunteers prepare and serve free meals.

"This is for anybody and there's no charge," said Stewart.

Each week, an average of 140  meals are prepared. On Monday, baked potatoes were on the menu.

"Another type of meal is the camaraderie, and there's no recipe for that," said Stewart.

Each person that attends Pat's Table has a different reason for being there. Serving them are teenagers, volunteers, and other husbands who have lost their wives.

"What's not to like about it? You know, it is what it is. Something for people that need and you're here because it's what you should be doing and it's what you should do," said Neil Giffin, who greets guests each week.

They have served 10,698 meals, and counting, so far.

"There was really no way you could figure out what it might do. I mean it's went way beyond expectations," said Stewart.

All of this for Pat.

"She's probably thinking, 'Oh my, that's a lot of work,' but she's happy," Stewart said.

Pat's Table is free and operates from donations. To donate: Send check or money order for Pat's Table to United Methodist Church C/O Pat's Table, 200 West 2nd Street, Prophetstown, IL 61270.